Paul Petersen, a former Arizona county official, was sentenced in federal court in Fayetteville today to a federal prison term in an adoption fraud case.
Judge Timothy Brooks sentenced him to six years in federal prison, 40/29 reports. The prosecution had sought a 10-year sentence though senencing guidelines for him could have put the sentence in the three-year range.
UPDATE: The sentencing record says the sentence was for six years and two months, three years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine, plus a special assessment of $5,100. He was allowed to remain free on bond and ordered to surrender Jan. 21.
Petersen, a former Maricopa county assessor, had pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens for financial gain.
Petersen was accused of paying pregnant women from the Marshall Islands $10,000 to put children up for adoption and then he’d charge adoptive families $30,000 to $40,000.
He also faces sentencing in January on state charges in Arizona and Utah.
Petersen apologized for his actions and said he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. The judge didn’t buy that. From 40/29:
“No. No. Mr. Petersen, you knew every single time that you brought these women into the country and had them lie about their purpose for coming. You knew every single time you coached them or had your subordinates coach them on what to tell the judge or the information you put in the forms about how long they’d been in the country what expenses they had. You knew lying and making these types of false statements to immigration and state court judges was wrong.”